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Vanished Valentine's

By: NLogan
Vanished Valentine's

My maternal grandma had a birthday the day after Valentine's Day, so there were many a year that I remembered celebrating with her and her heart shaped or Valentine themed cakes. Her place would usually be decorated in a Valentine's theme. Instead of of birthday banners there would be heart garlands and die cut Cupid silhouettes.

My aunt who lived with and took care of grandma was a Garfield collector and had a Valentine Garfield plush toy.

She also loved Ziggy.

 As Valentine's Day approached, my twin brother and I usually didn't realize it was upon us until mom asked what kind of Valentine's cards we would want to pass out at school. Then our minds turned to another opportunity to get candy. We would tell mom, "I dunno mom, something cool like: Return of the Jedi, or Mr. T, GI*JOE, Marvel Super Heroes. Ya know, something cool".

But instead of Return of the Jedi we would get Ewoks from the cartoon show.

"But MOM!" twin boys wailed.

"But Mom nothing, I know those Ewoks are in Return of the Jedi." She would know -  she bought us the figures.

Instead of the A-Team or Mr. T we would get Alf.

"But MOM! ALF isn't tough!"

"But mom nothing, I know you like him and I couldn't find Mr. T." She would know she watched ALF with us.

Instead of GI*JOE we would get Garfield.

"But MOM!"

"But mom nothing, you should have told me weeks ago. The selection was limited, and besides you like Garfield." She was right. We had several Garfield shirts and sweatshirts over the years that she bought.

Instead of Marvel Super Heroes we would get gumball valentines by Sweet Scentz.

"But MOM!"

"But mom nothing, I forgot and you should have reminded me weeks ago, and this was all that was left."

Well we could always hope that the kids in class would have some cool ones to look at like DuckTales or something.

Ones that I never had to give out but loved receiving were the Scratch N' Sniff Valentine's cards and stickers.


Some lucky kid got a Super Friends Action Valentine Playbook that had plenty of regular Valentine's cards for their classmate but in addition had 30 extra action Valentine's featuring your favorite DC comics heroes and villains that you assembled to decorate his desk with, give to his or her best buddy, etc., and a Batman or Wonder Woman mask to wear during the class party! Why was this never in my life?

As far as I know, the regular cards were the same ones, or at least the same artwork as, the Super Friends Valentine's.

Well it was time to get down to brass tacks and start building our Valentine's boxes to rake in the goodies at school. Most Valentine's boxes were made from shoe boxes, with some from tissue boxes. There are no existing pictures of the boxes I made but here is one of my boys with their boxes one year. You can't see in the picture but the robot has tank treads made from egg cartons.

Todd Franklin goes one better than just having a photo, he actually saved his early 80s Valentine's box he made with the help of his grandma and the Valentines from his classmates with it!

His box pretty much summed up what mine were like, wrapped in aluminum foil, but instead of stickers they had construction paper hearts and other nauseating junk like that on them.

Some years in elementary school we did not make boxes. Instead, we made giant heart shaped envelopes that dangled from the front of your desk as the intended receptacle of your Valentine's Day class party loot.

During the day you did regular school work until the last half of the day, then it was time for the party. A classroom party must have was decorating the room with construction paper heart garlands held together by staples.

You absolutely knew it was time to party when the teacher wheeled in the television with VCR on a stand from the library and played the 1975 classic Be My Valentine Charlie Brown. In it poor Chuck would always get stiffed in the Valentine's department with Linus pining away with unrequited love for his teacher. Both get snubbed harshly. But not in real life, at our school it was mandatory to bring a Valentine for every classmate, even the stinky kid. The boxes came with one for your teacher and sometime one for even the principal of the school or a special friend. Candy was dutifully scotch taped to the cards or placed in the envelope. Because this was the '80s, somebody's mom always made heart shaped sugar cookies with frosting or sugar sprinkles on them to pass around. My kids now-a-days can't bring anything homemade or baked.

The teachers, having already been grizzled veterans of two holiday class parties prior in the school year, both Halloween and Christmas, knew full well the ramifications of letting the kids run around willy nilly eating candy and treats. So your Valentine's usually had to be opened at home. Although every kid snuck some before hand. But they were usually dumped out upon getting home. Generally it was a boat load of Wuzzles, Popples, Strawberry Shortcake, Barbie, generics, Carebears, ShirtTales, and Rainbow Bright because we usually had more girls than boys in my classes growing up.

However I distinctly remember getting Pac-Man, the Pink Panther, and Snoopy, which were all welcome.

The candy was always the same, starting with the classic Necco Sweetheart conversation hearts poured into the little envelopes that came with the Valentine or in a box with a "to" and "from" on it that served as the Valentine itself.

Darlene Lacey has a website called the Candy Wrapper Museum and she has the Sweetheart box I remember.

Usually there were cinnamon red hot hearts.

There would be chocolate foil wrapped hearts.

Sugar coated jelly hearts

Valentine mellocreme candies shaped like hearts and cupids

My favorite were the suckers, usually either in cherry, strawberry, or cinnamon flavors

The ones that I remember most were cherry with white frosted writing on them. They came individually wrapped but uncut in a long roll of lollipops that was perforated, or that you had to cut apart with scissors. These were the ones that me and my brother gave out on our valentines year after year, taping the sticks to the cards.

When you got home you would give your parents your Valentine's card you made at school during the party. Using glue sticks, doily die cut paper, embossed paper, construction paper, and tissue paper.

Each year my mom got our homemade (school made) Valentine's along with a box of chocolates that my dad would buy for us to give to her.

I hated the chocolate boxes, because of my nut allergy. Most did not come with a table showing which designs were what, so it ended up being a either raspberry creme filled or death by chocolate roulette if I decided to eat them.They were usually Russell Stover candies or Whitman's assorted chocolates.

My dad got us a Giant Hershey's Kiss each that was a half pound of solid chocolate. They sold it as the Holiday Kiss and it was available for Christmas or Valentine's Day.  I remember gnawing on it like a beaver leaving teeth marks and then wrapping it back up in the aluminum foil for later. It took about a week to devour it.

My mom would always give us something from Avon (as she was a sales rep) to give to our dad. Usually it was stinky generic cologne or Old Spice aftershave in a glass bottle shaped like something a car, train, cannon, a lighthouse, or with a sailing ship picture on the bottle.

My favorite one that I still have is a Viking longboat.

My mom would get us a tube of valentine candy filled with red hots or, in later years, M&M's.

One year she got us each a giant HE-MAN Valentine's card that had a scene inside to color.

We munched candy and watched either the 1975 Be My Valentine Charlie Brown again aired on T.V. or the 1981 Pink Panther Valentine special Pink at First Sight.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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Hoju Koolander Posted on Feb 12, 2019 at 03:54 PM

This was great! Those Super Friends valentines had some deep cut characters like Plastic Man. Plus that spinning leg Flash was hilarious. I also dug seeing those Old Spice bottles and cologne cars, my Dad had plenty of those too.

NLogan Posted on Feb 07, 2019 at 05:21 PM

@Vaporman87 that He-Man Valentine was huge. It was like 24 x 18 inches.

NLogan Posted on Feb 07, 2019 at 05:09 PM

@Benjanime there was a female pink panther in the above mentioned Valentine's special and also in the episode pinkarella which was a spoof on Cinderella. He changes the witch into her and flies off on her broom with her. It us strongly implied that Pink Panther has offspring with a female panther because of the later cartoon series Pink Panther and Sons. That show wasn't my cup of tea as they were not silent like dad. If I remember right there were several girl Panthers and Panthers in different colors like purple, blue, and green.

Vaporman87 Posted on Feb 07, 2019 at 04:30 PM

An epic, though I didn't expect any less. Man, I so want one of those He-Man valentines with the coloring page on the inside. That would have been my all-time favorite had someone giving that to me.

Benjanime Posted on Feb 07, 2019 at 03:29 PM

i wonder if there really was a female pink panther in the cartoons, it's kind of bizarre seeing one in light of valentine's but i guess it was an excuse for the v-day cards lol. i definitely remember those marvel superheroes valentines but a lot of these other ones i haven't seen before. aside from those i recall seeing some for tiny toon adventures, bucky o' hare, and super mario bros. 3.

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